Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Who knew I was following the 12 Step Program?

I have lived my life doing what is right for the most part and from time to time making mistakes and hitting the wrong chords thus missing the right moves altogether. For the first 18 years of my life I was influenced by my parents and church and although I don't agree with everything I was taught or that I learned, they did teach me morals and right from wrong. The next 20 years of my life were influenced by the man I was married to, the people I worked with and society around me and yes, I made some big mistakes. However, for the past 10 years I have tried very hard to do what is right, for all not just myself and loved ones. I have attempted to repair any damage I caused in the past, borrowed Step 9 from the 12 Step program and tried to go back and apologize, explain or make right anything I could. 
9.  "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
This is not easy. I could have easily blamed my circumstances and allowed myself to sit back and not take responsibility but as much as that seems easy I couldn't do it. Since then I have tried to build a reputation that will show my character, flaws - yes, but ultimately provide me with a background that shows integrity and honesty. Of course I tell little white lies, not going to lie, I do. I will also not tell someone something that will hurt them if they don't need to know it. I think that is OK unless I am the one who caused the hurt - then as much as it boils inside of me and makes me want to walk away - I will eventually stand up to it and accept the consequences. (Apparently that is Step 10.)
 10. "Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."
I do know that in my "past life" I was respected. Even in my darkest hours when I went through times that I would never wish on another, I was seen by the people around me as someone worth caring about, trusting, knowing and respecting and that is huge to me. I have worked in environments surrounded by chaos, with numerous staff to supervise, where our clientele were repressed in crisis and our decisions truly affected their lives and well being. That is a tough place to sit. I am proud to look back and say that I cared, I went the extra mile and I was fair. I think that working in a social service environment where you are restricted by rules and restrained by regulations, if in that work place, you can gain a reputation for honesty and get respect by both the clients and the people you work with , then you have integrity. 
4. "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
I learned so much between the age of 25 and 35 in my career, gained confidence and strength I would never have believed possible and learned that even when it was hard to admit I was wrong or I had to change a decision, I could do it. I carried these skills over to my personal life and volunteer work in my community. I became an involved parent in my children's school and gave my time to my Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and other committees that needed people to share their time to get things done. I have always been a volunteer from the time I was about 12 years old and I taught a Sunbeam Sunday School class. This was something that was taught to me, if you want to be part of your community, you help, you volunteer and your reward is the pleasure you feel and the lessons you learn. I still believe that. I don't see helping others as personal gain, notoriety or power. It is about doing what is right and I do enjoy it. I have not walked away from conflict but have tried to be fair, see both sides and dealt with personal attacks, over all, generally, I have been able to come to peace with all involved and I value that.

I do know that in my travels, experiences, paid employment, volunteer work and friendships... I know that with the exception of about two situations, I have been able to right a wrong or at least apologize and attempt to make amends. I do know that when I have to ask for character references or have someone speak up for me, I have received reports of quality that I can be proud of.

Now, I live at the base of Green Mountain in Fosterville, NB and I am building a life here. I am gaining a reputation based on my hard work, good baking, treatment of others and being fair; I am proud of that. My goal is to continue to show my character as something I and my children can be proud of, although I have had misunderstandings, made errors and try to move positively past those. I will always be a CFA (Come From Away) but my goal is to be a CFA that can be trusted and not known to delve in much gossip (I say much because it is almost impossible to completely avoid it). 

If when I die my children can say that they were proud of me and that I taught them positive lessons that they carried in their lives, then my efforts will have been worth it. If I keep learning and trying , I am happy. It seems easy in this technical era to make assumptions or accusations without speaking to someone, simply by typing it on a screen. That makes me sad, for our future and for our basic morals and beliefs. Credibility, integrity and trust, those are important values for me. If I have caused you to question those values, talk to me, not others. Have a great day!

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